Verses 12-14 read,
“So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.”
When Jesus was arrested, the Sanhedrin had already decided His sentence. They had decided Jesus had to die. But God had decided that long ago and Jesus had chosen to do it. They tied Jesus up as if He were fighting them. And took Him away. Verses 15-16 describe what happened next.
“Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in.”
The other disciple is John, who didn’t referred to himself in his gospel, except by ways such as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” John and Peter followed Jesus but the rest of the disciples left, scattered and hid. Since John was familiar with the High priest and his household, He was easily able to enter the the home. He didn’t forget his friend, his fellow believer Peter though and also got permission for him to come in. John probably then went all the way to where Jesus was being questioned, while Peter stayed with the servant girl at the door. Peter could have gone all the way in with John to be with Jesus, but he stayed outside.
Peter had, a few hours earlier declared that he would die for Jesus. Less than an hour prior, he had tried to fight to keep Jesus from going to His death. Now, he stood next to a servant girl who asked him with disdain, “You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you?” This passionate impetuous and proud man who had declared Jesus Messiah early on, who had rushed out of the safety of a boat to walk on water with Jesus, and had asked Jesus to wash his whole body not just his feet, said, “I am not.” (Verse 17). He denied following Jesus and it doing so denied Jesus was the Christ. The officers and servants made a charcoal fire and Peter stood with them warming himself. Whatever grief Peter faced then, his fear was larger and his fear made him selfish. He stood with the people who served the priests, the Sanhedrin, and the soldiers who were trying to find a reason to kill his Lord. As zealous for Jesus as Peter had been, he was now vehement for his own reputation. Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. (Matthew 16:15). Peter denied Him for the comfort of a fire and the company of people, some of whom had been with the group who had arrested Jesus.
Jesus was inside being questioned by Annas. Verses 20-24 describe it.
“Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.”
While Jesus was inside telling the truth and saying He had never been stealthy or secretive, and being hit for it. Peter was outside next to the fire hiding who he was ad who Jesus was. Charcoal fires give heat but not much light, so the people around it were not really able to see one another clearly. And again someone asked him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” (Verse 25). Verses 26-27 continue the chronicle.
“One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.”
Can you imagine it? Peter was directly confronted by a man who saw him and identified him as the person who cut off his relative’s ear. Peter couldn’t know if the man was merely guessing or truly recognizing him, but you don’t easily forget something like that. And Peter was angry and really frightened. In the gospel of Mark, which is likely Peter’s account, it says that he began to invoke a curse and swear. (Mark 14:71). But then suddenly the rooster crowed. The night was over. Peter remembered what Jesus had said that he would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed. Mark says he broke down and wept. (Mark 14:72). Peter had been prideful about his belief in Jesus as Messiah and his exuberant following of Jesus. He had likely dismissed Jesus’ warning as an impossibility. His pride made him think he would never do something so awful. He had been warned but he ignored it.
Of all the disciples, only John didn’t abandon Jesus that night. John stayed with Jesus through His trial and crucifixion. John faced the same temptations to deny Christ as Peter had. But John was with Jesus. He could draw on His strength, love and presence to carry him through. John watched as Jesus demonstrated His perfect love. Peter could have followed Jesus into the house and been with Him as John was. But his guilt and shame kept him outside in the dark. Without the light to illuminate the truth, he fell to temptation and denied Christ.
We face temptation every day. Every chance he gets, Satan will throw guilt, shame and fear in your face. He will use your pride against you. The enemy will do whatever he can to keep you distant from Jesus, weak, and ineffective. But you do not have to believe the lies of the accuser. You have Jesus. He will help you through every situation. James 4:8 encourages us,
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
And 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 says,
“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”